Bambara woman (sold)

81 cm high reproduction of a Bambara figure, representing a seated woman.

The Bambara used to be strongly spirited lively, being opposed to Islam, and this is why muslims give them the name of "bamana" or pagan. However, the Islam has gone into Mali very slowly, and now is one of the first religions of the country. That is the reason why the Bambara statuary is quite little, even though they represented a very important rule in farm rites. Nowadays, the essential think of these rites, is celebrated with masks, giving the statuary a meaning of invocation of the fertility. This concerns the Jo initiation society, which in opposition to the Bambara tradition, accepts women, passing a training period shorter than men's period. At the end of the training period, the girls that have overcome the tests dance with the statues in their hands. The statues are showed only during two annual celebrations. The first one takes place at the beginning of the rain season, in May or June. The second one is the Gwan or fertility feast, when women visit again the statues, offering prayers and sacrifices, mostly in case of sterility or problems of birth. This sculpture in wood gathers some of the characteristics of the Bambara sculpture, with angular shapes, long face, lineal features, long neck, prominent conical breasts, slim body, and a schematical representation of a typical Bambara hairdo.

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